Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Complete Fantastic Four (Marvel UK/1977)

In a rather unusual move, Marvel UK decided to not just give the Fantastic Four their own comic but to totally devote the entire magazine to their adventures. Each issue contained a complete reprint of an American edition plus at the back Marvel started serialising their adventures from the beginning.

When this came out I was literally just starting out at Polytechnic and besides being distracted bu living away from home for the first time, the halls of Residence were just a short walk away from They Were Dark & Golden Eyed in Soho so I tended to get the US editions when I needed a break from academia.


The first issue starts with an odd confrontation between Thundra and Benjamin Grimm in which the Frightful Four had a hand. The "back up story was the first part of the origin of the FF and their first meeting with the mysterious Mole-Man in a classic story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby.

The second and third issues tell us of the mad scheme of Gideon and his quest for power. Guest starring the android Dragon Man, we find Mr Fantastic and Sue Storm separated due to marital problems with Medusa of the Inhumans as the fourth member of the FF.

This adventure take place over two issues and the backup in #3 introduces the Skrulls to readers. Nuff said!

The Fantastic Four where and still are the team around which the Marvel Universe was built and you'd think that this would be a great success. It wasn't and lasted just 37 issues.

The weekly frequency of this title may have been the problem. Too much focus on one feature when British titles were always anthologies. Great for people like me to pick up cheap reprints of old FF material, but perhaps too much for the younger readers this comic was aimed at in the late seventies.

There was one other problem. I am not sure how far behind British Marvel was with it's US parent title but just at 37 issues this represents just over three years of the monthly Fantastic Four. They would have soon run out of material even if the stories from the Annuals were used.

Either way The Complete Fantastic Four was merged with Mighty World of Marvel the following year, which was where the the FF had begun in British Marvel.


  1. Oh I remember "They Were Dark & Golden Eyed"...down the little alley way...those were the days! And Forbidden Planet in Denmark Street. Now it all too gloss and mainstream perhaps. There still the odd ol style comic-book shop to be found but think the golden-age has long passed?

    As for the Fantastic Four...I still can't believe there is no current comic-book series on offer at the moment! Read/heard about the "dealings" of movie rights etc...but how sad youngsters/comic-book fans of today have no on-going series. Feel the longer it left the more difficult it's going to be for Marvel...and it present there been no news of a new comic-book series?

  2. I go to 30th Century Comics in Putney. A place for pure nostalgia. It's certainly a proper comic shop!

    I miss the Fantastic Four especially as it was the last Marvel title on my pull list. I would have tried out Doctor Strange but they chose the wrong artist for my tastes. Pity.